160 THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD TECHNIQUE FOR BEGINNING TACTILE EXERCISES Although the tactile sense is distributed over the whole skin,, the exercises with which the children begin are limited to the tips of the fingers and in particular to those of the right hand. Such a limitation is rendered necessary in practice and is also an educational necessity, inasmuch as it prepares for daily life, when man exercises and utilizes the tactile sense with these very areas. The exercise is specially useful for our educational aims, for as we shall see, the various exercises of the hand form an indirect and remote preparation for writing. I make the children wash their hands well with soap in a hand-basin; then in a nearby basin they have to give them a short bath of tepid water. Then I make them dry them and a slight massage completes the preparatory work of the bath. Then I teach the child to * touch,' that is, the way to touch the surface, for it is necessary to take the child's fingers and guide them so that they stroke the surface very lightly. Another detail of the method is to teach the child to keep his eyes closed whilst he is touching, encouraging him by saying that he will feel better and that he will recognize, without seeing them, changes in the surface. The child learns at once and shows his great pleasure in the proceedings. So true is this that, on occasions after the exercises have been practised for some time, when we enter the Children's House, it often happens that the children run forward to meet us, close their eyes and with the very lightest of touches feel the palms of our hands, trying to find the places where the skin is smoothest; or they stroke our clothes, especially silk or velvet trim- mings. They are really exercising the tactile sense, for they never seem to tire of touching smooth surfaces like satin. They become very skilful in discerning the differences between polished cards. The material for first use consists of: (a) A very long rectangular wooden board, which is divided into two equal rectangles, one covered with extremely smooth paper, the other with rough paper.